Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving, Christmas & Farewell Dinner with Lesotho Zone

On November 29, 2010 we invited all of the Lesotho Zone Missionaries to our flat to have Thanksgiving Dinner. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving in South Africa so we have had fun with the missionaries introducing them to our holiday dinner. Barbara also purchased some gifts for the Elders so we celebrated an early Christmas with them as well. They also shared some special times with us and gave us a beautiful set of wooden carved bowls and a carving of a leopard. So it turned out to be a Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Farewell celebration.
We wanted the missionaries to have things that they liked to eat as well as our more American food so these two missionaries cooked traditional chabatas that they served along with the Turkey, dressing, gravy, potatoes, and fresh fruit salad. We have never had the ability to have fresh strawberries, peaches, grapes, apricots, and cherries for Thanksgiving but that is the blessing of serving in South Africa where the seasons are different. This is Elder Amirikau and Elder Howard. This is a picture of Elder Amirikau while he is cooking. Elder Amirikau is from Kenya.
After dinner we let the Elders shop from our pantry. . This is similar to what we used to do when our children returned to college. They would shop for food in the pantry and then take it with them back to school. We had fun letting each Elder and then each companionship go through the pantry and pick out one item. They seemed to enjoy it as well. Apparently they don't shop for things the same way Barb and I do.
Here is the entire Lesotho Zone. It comprises missionaries from Phuthaditjhaba, Bethlehem, Leribe, Masianokeng, and Maseru. We have really come to love these special young men and we love being with them. Barb put up some Christmas decorations on the wall to help celebrate the season. We have such a love for these Elders and fortunately they love the Senior Couples. Many of them now express the desire to serve as Senior Couples with their wives.
Our hearts are so full as we prepare to leave this wonderful experience with all the miracles, daily spiritual experiences and love of the land, people and of cource our Elders. The Elders are from right to left: Elder Kapande - Zimbawe, Elder Gondo - Zimbawe, Elder Ellis - Australia, Elder Howard - Wyoming, Elder Ikahihifo - New Zealand, Elder Sichinga Sr. - Zambia, Elder Schwartzberg - South Africa, Elder Castleberry - Utah, Elder Lepheana - South Africa, Elder Bielefeldt - Utah, Elder Amirikau - Kenya

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Burning of Africa

During the months of August through October, people burn the land and much of the tall grass that exists, even in the towns. The fires are set and allowed to burn in many cases without anyone watching the fires. They burn around the houses first and control that (out in the country) but just let the fires burn throughout the night.

We were returning from Church in Phuthaditjhaba and we saw the fires buring along the road and over the entire mountain range. Because it is so foreign to our experience we took some pictures along the way. EPA would have a field day with all the pollution but it is accepted here as something that is natural. Notice that there is no one around the fire line.
Here is what it looks like after the fire has passed through. Many of the trees don't make it and are killed in the process but notice that the fire has gone up and over the mountain (as well as the ones in the distance).
Some of the tall trees survive but everything close to the ground is burned. However within a few weeks you will see the grass starting to grow and within a month or so most of the black is covered with green grass. The tall grass is used for thatch on the houses and it is gathered in June and July for the most part.

The fires are very hot in some places. In the towns the fires are set and just allowed to burn along roads. I never would have believed it and the first time we saw it in Newcastle, I was shocked

It burns in both directions, against the wind as well as in the direction of the wind.

Friday, August 13, 2010